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Old 11-24-2014, 04:24 PM
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Default Maribou quality

I use a considerable amount of strung marabou. I realize it is an inexpensive feather but there is an awful lot of junk in many of the packs I buy. Any particular brand known for a little better quality?
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Old 11-24-2014, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: Maribou quality

When you say "junk" what exactly do you mean?

Extra Select Marabou is generally very good quality, but it is a longer feather and has a thicker stem, so you'll be cutting from that and lashing down to the hook. These are better used on larger flies.

With the strung blood quill feathers, I have had decent luck with Hareline or the branded packages I have picked up in fly shops.

I've had good luck with Spirit River products so I wouldn't hesitate to try those.

For the most part, I think it's a **** shoot to a degree but have mostly had good luck. If you've got bad feathers, make note of where you picked them up and look for an alternate resource for marabou. I think if you are getting into the really speciality feather suppliers, you're likely to get better quality, but that is a broad generalization. I haven't tried these sorts of shops for marabou because largely I've been satisfied with what I've bought.

One thing you may try is to pinch the feather by the tip and stroke the rest of it downward. Doing so helps release some of the fibers that get bunched together during the curing/dying process.
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Old 11-24-2014, 05:58 PM
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Default Re: Maribou quality

By junk I mean the lower half (sometimes more) of the feather is matted and not useable. The bottom portion of most any feather is discarded in my experience. I understand that. But a 4-5" feather should yield more than a single wooly bugger tail.

Not a big problem unless you are in the middle of a fly swap and need 24 purple feathers.

This isn't a real tragedy, I was just curious if all marabou was just a crapshoot before I order some more.
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Old 11-24-2014, 07:48 PM
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Default Re: Maribou quality

It kind of comes down to how you like to tie your tails in on the buggers/streamers. There are some patterns where I use two colors and when I do, I strip or cut fibers off of the main stem. When I do it this way, I am using more of the feather and the tails are a little more sparse, but that's by design. I do this mainly on leech patterns. You might give this a shot as I think it will help you get more out of each feather.

When I am lazy and or the feathers aren't quite what I want them to be, then I'll stroke the fibers up towards the tip and tie off. This generally means I am discarding much more of the feather. When I tie in tails though, I am generally only tying in those fine tips. I don't like to use a cut feather on a tail of a bugger or streamer. I do however use some of those scraps as body material.

Like I mentioned, you might try pulling off the the lowest stuff from the bottom and then stroking the feather downward. This will help free up some of the matted feathers.
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Old 11-24-2014, 08:03 PM
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Default Re: Maribou quality

Thanks Jaybo, that did fix many of them. I thought they were just cooked from the dying process.
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Old 11-24-2014, 09:57 PM
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Thumbs up Re: Maribou quality

Before I started tying spey and tube flies, I had never really prepared the feather this way so I was probably discarding a lot more material than I needed to. Not that I'm an expert with tying those sorts of flies, but I've found that by learning to tie something different really has helped me develop methods, skills or what have you that have helped me significantly when tying more basic flies. Things like proportions, # of wraps of a feather, preparing the feathers, etc.

Glad it worked out for you!
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Old 11-25-2014, 04:33 AM
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Default Re: Maribou quality

you could try washing them before your tying session

that would un-matte them and remove any residual dye from the dyeing process

understanding fly tying marabou

i am guilty of removing the junky fluff at the butt end of the feather and just throw it away. its not the part of the feather i want to use for woolly bugger tails

the type of feather I like to use is as shown below. thin wispy fibers. i will also trim out the very tip of the feather

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

i then draw all of the fibers together and tie in

Click the image to open in full size.

the remainder of the feather is used for the under body and the waste is trimmed away

Click the image to open in full size.

my method is not for everybody as each tyer has their preferences

i just dont like woolly buggers with a half pound of feathers hanging off the bend of the hook

Click the image to open in full size.
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Last edited by flytire; 11-25-2014 at 05:03 AM.
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Old 11-25-2014, 05:50 AM
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Default Re: Maribou quality

I also trim the very tip of the feather out (like flytire said above) when tying in a marabou tail. I think the action of the tail is better with the very tip of the stem removed.
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Old 11-25-2014, 06:52 AM
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Default Re: Maribou quality

Appreciate the advice guys. I use that part of the feather for wooly tails as well. I'm not actually tying woolies at this time. It was just an example of how much feather appeared to be left after the waste as removed. Over half my feathers responded well to the treatment.
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Old 11-28-2014, 08:07 PM
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Default Re: Maribou quality

Interesting timing to learn something, but recently I was trying a new pattern and saw the tier do something with marabou that I had not tried. Take a toothbrush to it to comb out the matted material. I tried it this evening and am pleased with the results. You might give that a shot.
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